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Cultural Bearing

  • By: Fiona Joy Green
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Nobel Prize-winning African American author, editor, mother, and professor Toni Morrison identifies four interrelated tasks and responsibilities of motherwork: preservation, nurturance, cultural bearing, and healing, according to Canadian feminist maternal scholar, mother, and professor Andrea O'Reilly. Morrison coined the phrase cultural bearing to name the specific consideration and attention that African American mothers give to promoting and ensuring the physical and psychological well-being and empowerment of African American people and the wider African American culture in their work as parents. Cultural bearing is essential to the thought and practice of a black motherhood that preserves, protects, and empowers black children in ways that affords children the ability to resist harmful racist practices. Cultural bearing is a form of nurturance that helps children develop a loved ...

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